Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law and the Problem With Texting and Driving
News4Jax has reported that one Jacksonville resident is thrilled about the new texting and driving bill that Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed into law. The 70-year-old man spent months in rehab after a distracted driver struck his car on Philips Highway in 2016. These are the kinds of tragic and preventable incidents that Florida legislators are hoping to reduce through the implementation of a new texting and driving law.
What is Florida’s New Texting and Driving Law?
Under current Florida law, officers can only issue citations as a secondary offense to people who are texting while driving. In other words, drivers could only be cited for the violation if police pulled the driver over for some other offense.
However, the new law – which warnings can be issued for beginning July 1st and citations will kick in for January 1st – allows police officers to pull over drivers if they’re caught texting behind the wheel. In addition to making texting and driving a primary offense, the new law also completely bans the use of handheld devices for those driving through school and construction zones.
One interesting factor is that drivers will still be allowed to use GPS or Bluetooth as long as they’re not traveling through marked construction or school zones – and officers have already pointed out that this might present a challenge for officers who have to determine whether a driver is texting or using GPS to navigate.
What is the Problem With Texting and Driving?
In a report published earlier this year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) uncovered a trend of disturbing statistics regarding texting and driving. It reported that in one naturalistic study of over 3,000 drivers, it was indicated that the crash risk was between two and six times higher when drivers were manipulating a cellphone compared with when they were not distracted. Additionally, there was a significant increase in crash risk for drivers under 30 years old and drivers over 64 when looking at by age group – indicating that the youngest and oldest drivers face the greatest risk. It was further reported that typing or reading text messages significantly slowed reaction time, increased lane deviations and increased the length of time drivers looked away from the roadway.
Perhaps most disturbingly of all, the IIHS pointed out that there are no reliable estimates of the number of crashes caused by distracted drivers because the bulk of the data gathered about cellphones and crash risk comes from naturalistic studies – which heavily rely on self-reporting. Therefore, the actual number of accidents caused by texting and driving may be much higher.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured as the Result of a Driver Who Was Texting?
We understand that you can be injured because of another driver’s negligence even when you are acting responsibly and that this can lead to significant injuries and extensive frustration for both you and your family as you struggle to figure out how to keep up with mounting debts. We can help you hold the accountable parties responsible and ensure that you obtain the compensation that you deserve. Contact the experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorneys of The Pendas Law Firm today so that you can begin obtaining the help you need.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Tampa, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Daytona Beach, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Bradenton areas.